Outside the Park
Tusayan Hotels, Lodges, and Camping
Tusayan owes its existence entirely to the park, so the town is heavy on motels and restaurants but not on charm. Hotels, motels, restaurants, shops, and other tourism businesses line Highway 64 just 1-2 miles south of the South Entrance Station. Tusayan is convenient to Grand Canyon Airport and the IMAX theater as well as numerous tour operators.
Several Tusayan hotels offer the amenities of resort or business travel, and during summer months the park’s free shuttle route extends here. Although the town was recently incorporated, addresses continue to read “Grand Canyon, Arizona.” But don’t let the address confuse you: There are no canyon views here, even though you’re only a couple of miles away from the Rim.
The expansive Best Western Grand Canyon Squire Inn (100 Hwy. 64, 928/638-2681 or 800/622-6966, www.grandcanyonsquire.com, $90-220) has an outdoor swimming pool, an exercise room, a year-round spa, a beauty salon, and a family activity room featuring everything from billiards to video games. The Squire Inn has two full-service restaurants, and the bowling alley lounge serves drinks and snacks. Standard guest rooms, deluxe rooms, and suites are available, and rates include a continental breakfast. The 250-room inn offers vacation packages that include plane, helicopter, or raft tours, and meetings and banquets can be accommodated.
The 121-room Grand Hotel (149 Hwy. 64, 888/634-7263 or 928/638-3333, www.grandcanyongrandhotel.com, $99-409) was built in 1998 in an old-fashioned mountain-lodge style, with a piano lobby, a fireplace, exposed timbers, and modern amenities that include an indoor pool and hot tub, a fitness center, a lounge, a sports bar, meeting rooms, and event-planning services. Some guest rooms and suites have patios or balconies, and pets are allowed in some guest rooms. Lodging packages can be customized to include tours.
Canyon Plaza Resort (406 Canyon Plaza Lane, 928/638-2673 or 800/995-2521, www.grandcanyonplaza.com, $72-248) has guest rooms and suites. Amenities include free continental breakfast, Internet access, a dining room, a lounge, a spa, an outdoor swimming pool, and a hot tub. Meeting and banquet facilities are available, and pets can be accommodated. Packages can include air, horse, and raft tours. The hotel shares a driveway with the IMAX theater on Highway 64.
Grand Canyon Holiday Inn Express (226 Hwy. 64, 928/638-3000 or 888/465-4329, www.hiexpress.com, $71-333) has standard guest rooms and suites. Special kids’ suites have bunk beds, TVs, stereos, and video games. Rates include breakfast. To make the kiddos even happier, there’s an indoor pool and a spa.
The Red Feather Lodge (106 Hwy. 64, 928/638-2414 or 866/561-2425, www.redfeatherlodge.com, $70-163) still welcomes guests with its original neon sign that dates back to the 1960s. Guest rooms in the original motor lodge can accommodate pets and smokers. The adjacent hotel, built in 1995, has larger guest rooms and interior hallways. Together, the buildings house a total of 231 rooms. The lodge has an outdoor pool and spa, and Internet service is available.
Seven Mile Lodge (56 Powell Ave., 928/638-2291, from $62) is seven miles from Mather Point, the first canyon overlook past the park’s entrance. The unpretentious motel’s 20 guest rooms have queen beds, TVs, and air-conditioning, but no phones. The motel doesn’t take advance reservations, but you can stop and reserve a room on your way to the park. Popular with savvy budget travelers, this motel fills up early during high season. It’s located on the west side of Highway 64.
Grand Canyon Camper Village (928/638-2887, www.grandcanyoncampervillage.com, Mar.-Oct.) in Tusayan, one mile south of the park’s South Entrance at milepost 236, has 50 tent sites ($25) and 250 RV sites with electric ($35), water and electric ($40), or full hookups ($45-50). Off-season and group rates are available. Campground amenities include coin-operated showers and laundry, free Wi-Fi, a camp store, a playground, restrooms, and a dump site. The grocery store and many shops and restaurants are within walking distance.
Ten X Campground (877/444-6777, www.recreation.gov, May-Sept., $10), located four miles south of the park’s South Entrance Station along Highway 64, is operated by the U.S. Forest Service. The campground’s 70 sites are often completely booked in summer. Each site has a picnic table and a fire pit with a grill. Most are pull-through sites, and RVs up to 30 feet long can be accommodated, although there are no hookups. The campground has vault toilets but no showers. There’s a nearby nature trail and an amphitheater with occasional evening ranger programs during the summer. Two group sites ($75-125) accommodating up to 100 people include covered picnic areas.
Primitive-style camping is available in Kaibab National Forest (928/638-2443), which borders the national park. Stays are limited to 14 days, and no camping is allowed within 0.25 miles of water, on open meadows, within one mile of a developed campground, within 200 feet of main roadways, or within 20 feet of forest roads. Bury human and pet waste at least six inches deep and pack out all trash. Many forest roads are rugged, and depending on rainfall and winter snow cover, they can be quite muddy as well. During the summer, fire restrictions may be active. Check with the Forest Service for current conditions.
Valle Hotels and Camping
If guest rooms near the park’s South Entrance are booked, you can travel another 20 miles south to Valle, a small settlement at the intersection of Highways 180 and 64.
On the northeast corner of the intersection, the Grand Canyon Inn (928/635-9203 or 800/635-9203, www.grand-canyon-inn.com, $49-89 depending on the season) offers 101 guest rooms, each with two queen beds, as well as a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a gift shop. Pets are not allowed. Rooms sell out in summer, and advance reservations are recommended. The convenience store next door is a park pay station: You can purchase a National Park Pass here and use the express lane when you get to the South Entrance Station.
Bedrock City (928/635-2600, Feb.-Nov., $12 for 2 people, more for hookups), 20 miles south of the park in Valle, has tent and RV sites and a Flintstones-themed camper village with a grocery store, a diner, a gift shop, a game room, laundry, and showers. This campground has amenities you won’t find anywhere else near the canyon: a theater showing Flintstones cartoons, plus tram rides in the Fredmobile. Community grills are available if you’re too late for a Bronto Burger at the diner.
Red Lake Campground and Hostel (928/635-4753 or 800/581-4753, year-round) is located 43 miles south of the park between Williams and Valle. Campsites ($25) have hookups for electricity and water. Rooms in the hostel ($20 pp) are dorm style, although couples can usually be accommodated in their own room. Bathrooms and coin-operated showers are down the hall, and there’s a common area with a TV, a refrigerator, and a microwave.
Cameron and Gray Mountain Hotels and Camping
Cameron is 30 miles from the park’s East Entrance Station, on the Navajo Reservation along U.S. 89. The Cameron Trading Post Lodge (928/679-2231 or 800/338-7385, $59-99 s, $69-109 d, $99-179 luxury suites), overlooking the Little Colorado River Gorge, has the lowest rates in January-February and highest May-October. Some guest rooms are wheelchair-accessible, and pets can be accommodated for an additional fee. The lodge buildings are surrounded by gardens, with a convenience store, historic and modern trading posts, and a restaurant on the property.
The Anasazi Inn (928/679-2214 or 800/678-2214, www.anasaziinn.com, $60-80, lower off-season) is located in Gray Mountain, 42 miles north of Flagstaff on U.S. 89 near milepost 457, which is 50 miles from the park’s East Entrance Station. The motel has 112 guest rooms, an outdoor pool, and a restaurant. Because the inn is just outside the reservation, you can purchase liquor here, including off-sales.
Cameron Trading Post RV Park (928/679-2231 or 800/338-7385, $15), in Cameron 30 miles east of the park’s East Entrance Station, has RV sites with full hookups; weekly and monthly rates are available. The RV park is within a short stroll of the cliffs overlooking the Little Colorado River and adjacent to historic and modern trading posts, a convenience store, and a restaurant.
© Kathleen Bryant from Moon Grand Canyon, 5th Edition